Challah Recipe

By Celia Diamond

A loaf of challah on a wood platter

Previously in Divine Kosher Cuisine, cookbook of Congregation Agudat Achim, Schenectady, NY, ©2006

Ingredients An icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challah

• 8 cups flour

• ¼ cup sugar

• 1 (scant) Tablespoon salt

• 4½ teaspoons dry yeast

• 1½ cups hot water

(between 115° F – 130° F.)

• ½ cup vegetable oil

• 4 large eggs, beaten

(reserve 2 Tablespoons to brush on loaves after

shaping)

• (Optional) Sesame seeds or poppy seeds

Oven 350° F

 

Instructions An icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challah

To prepare by hand:

  •  Combine flour with sugar, salt, and yeast in a large bowl.
  • Whisk eggs (minus the reserved 2 Tablespoons) with oil and add to flour mixture.
  • Add hot water. Mix with spoon or hands until dough is stiff and not too wet to handle (add a little flour if necessary here or while kneading).
  • Turn out on floured counter or board and knead 10 minutes or until dough is smooth, elastic, and cleans board or counter.
  • Place dough in large lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.
  • Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour.
  • Dough is ready when indentation remains after touching.
  • Punch down, place on lightly floured surface and divide in half.
  • Divide one half into thirds and roll each third into a rope, keeping the middle thicker and tapering each end.
  • Braid to form loaf; tuck ends under slightly and pinch to close.
  • Place loaf on greased baking sheet (or one lined with parchment paper).
  • Repeat with second half of dough.
  • Mix 1/2 teaspoon water into reserved 2 Tablespoons of beaten egg.
  • Brush on loaves and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired.
  • Let rise 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Bake 30 minutes or till crust is browned.
  • Place loaves on cooling rack.

Using food processor:

  • If processor bowl is normal size, prepare half of dough at a time.
  • Place 4 cups of flour and half of each other dry ingredient in processor bowl and process a bit, till mixed.
  • Remove cover insert and, with processor running, add mixture of 2 whisked-together eggs and ¼ cup oil, then ¾ cup of hot water, through hole in top.
  • Continue processing 1 and a half minutes to knead (dough will start to clear sides of bowl toward end of this step).
  • Turn out onto floured surface and repeat with other half of ingredients.
  • Turn out atop first half of dough and knead together by hand a couple of minutes, till dough is a single lump that doesn’t stick to surface.
  • Continue as above with rising, shaping, and baking.

An icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challah

Notes:

I always use my food processor – faster & easier.

Older bread recipes call for “proofing” the yeast in warm water before using.  With modern, powdered dry yeast, this step is not necessary.  Just add to other dry ingredients as above.

I use 6 cups of white all-purpose flour and 2 cups of whole-wheat flour (3 white and 1 white whole-wheat in each stage of food processor method).  You can experiment with a larger proportion of (white or brown) whole-wheat flour, but I find the bread doesn’t rise as well with more than 3-to-1.

After turning dough over in oiled bowl before first rising, I brush just a little more oil on top to make sure it doesn’t crack while rising. (For “brush,” I use my fingers!  I find a pastry brush catches and pulls the dough.)

An icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challahAn icon in the shape of challah

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